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Five Lies That Ruin Relationships

Published: May 25th, 2007 » Tags: Book Reviews

Yup Nope Maybe I finished the Christian Life & Relationship paperbacks authored by the therapist duo aka Stephen James and David Thomas. The companion works are titled “Does This Dress Make Me Look Fat? A Man’s Guide to the Loaded Questions Women Ask” and “Yup.” “Nope.” “Maybe.” A Woman’s Guide to Getting More Out of the Language of Men.

I already offered my thoughts and questions re: “Does This Dress Make Me Look Fat? A Man’s Guide to the Loaded Questions Women Ask.” I appreciated the book, and found it to be both enlightening and entertaining. I would say the same re: “Yup. Nope. Maybe. A Woman’s Guide to Getting More Out of the Language of Men.” It too was an enlightening and entertaining read. The pair are good books, all around.

Again, if you are the sort of person who is comfortable living at either end of the bipolar paradigm that is the gender egalitarian and complementarian left and right, then you will probably not enjoy this book. Why? Well, it is built upon the idea of serious gender differences. Men and women are inherently different. This fact does not, however, result in inequality. The “Yup.” “Nope.” “Maybe.” authors argue as much very early in the book. They write: “Although the differences between men and women provide material for stand-up comics and water cooler jocularity, they don’t imply superiority or inferiority for one sex or the other. But insofar as these differences shape our language, and thus spread out into the nooks and crannies of our lives, they have a profound effect on the quality of our relationships” (11).

Improved quality of relationships through intentional gender-based interaction and nurture is the point of this book, just as it was in “Does This Dress Make Me Look Fat? A Man’s Guide to the Loaded Questions Women Ask.” I appreciate this overarching, relationally-based characteristic and goal. I also appreciate each chapter’s concluding theological application. Once again, as was the case in “Does This Dress Make Me Look Fat?,” theology, or how all of this relates to God, is the point.

“Yup.” “Nope.” “Maybe.” was birthed straight out of the questions women have about men. The authors e-mailed women from all over the country and asked them to submit the most pressing questions they had concerning men. Questions submitted included: “Why won’t men stop for directions?” “Do men always think about sex?” “How can men fight fearlessly in war and yet whimper like children when they’re sick?” “Why do men watch sports?” “Why do men spend so much time on the porcelain throne?”

The answers to these initial questions are rooted in deeper gender specific instincts, feelings, and desires. So, men, just like the women who asked the loaded questions in “Does This Dress Make Me Look Fat?,” are digging much deeper into gender specific tendencies than it may initially appear at the surface level of everyday acts and events.

An example of this can be found in each chapter, but I think the chapter titled “Can’t It Wait ‘Till Halftime” epitomizes the James and Thomas methodology. In “Can’t It Wait ‘Till Halftime”, men are described as instinctive “warrior-adventurers” who “get energized by just by watching the battle played out in front of us” (63). This is why, according to the authors, men are virtually unresponsive to the rest of the world on Saturday & Sunday afternoons during football season. They are vicariously engaged in a battle that they instinctively do not want to disengage. Men crave adventure; men are created to be warriors.

The authors summarize the man as warrior-adventurer chapter with the theological implications, as they do every chapter. They write: “God designed men to be dangerous. Look at the imagination, dreams, and desires written into the heart of every boy: hero, warrior, and explorer. Sadly, most men abandon those dreams in favor of more obtainable and predictable avocations. The true heart of a man, what God designed us to be, is bent toward danger, passion, and freedom. Men are made to war against evil” (63).

The authors’ point in all of this is to direct the relational attention of women toward gender-driven actions expressed by men through surface level behavior and language. Women, when confronted with such actions, can maximize relational health by looking beyond the surface level behavior and language. Women then can intentionally react to men in gender specific and sensitive ways. In other words, a woman who cares about her man’s maleness could actually - and should - provide the space for him to live out his instinctive need to battle through the big game on NFL Sunday. Men, beware: she may just go all the way and sign you up for Ultimate Fighter Six, so you can authentically embrace the warrior-adventurer inside. You may just get more adventure than you bargained for! Me? I’m not fighting anyone! I gave that up in junior high school. I’m content with the Pittsburgh Steelers, thank you.

One Response to “A Woman’s Guide: Yup. Nope. Maybe.”

  1. […] start with a quick review of “Does This Dress Make Me Look Fat?” A review of “Yup.” “Nope.” “Maybe.” will follow […]

    A Man's Guide: Does This Dress Make Me Look Fat? | Lo-Fi Tribe

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